Mexico will look to win their second Toulon Tournament title ever and stop a possible England 3-peat, as both teams face off on Saturday. It will be the second time both teams meet after drawing 0-0 in the Group stage. Mexico were the superior team in the first meeting but will go into the second match without their best defender Cesar Montes, who will miss the final because of an injury suffered against Turkey in the semifinals. Mexico’s team could be considered slightly favored, as they have the stronger squad, but will need to improve their finishing from the first game.
Mexico came into this tournament as one of the favorite squads to take the title. With no tournament besides the World Cup and and with Olympic qualifiers looming, Mexico was able to take some of the best prospects to the competition. Mexico met expectations by winning their Group and being the best team in every game. That said, Mexico’s coach Marco Antonio Ruiz didn’t make much changes to his starting XI, and by the final group game against China, some of the team looked to be starting to get fatigued. Mexico then went to the Semifinals, where they were able to defeat a tough and very physical Turkey team. The 3-1 victory came at a prize as 3 of their best players (Montes, Jonathan Gonzalez and Diego Lainez) all had to leave the game because of injuries. Luckily it seems that only Montes will miss the final, but it will be a tough situation, especially if England gets to a similar physical rhythm. Mexico will need to be on point and for the tournament’s top goal scorer, Eduardo Aguirre (with 7 goals), to keeps his scoring streak going, although it will be tough against the bigger and more adept defenders in England’s squad.
Mexico has had a troubled history with England in every age division. In 2017, Mexico faced England in both the U-20 and U-17 World Cup tournaments. Mexico lost in both of them (QF in U-20 and group stages in the U-17). Coincidentally, the English went on to win both World Cups. A victory for England in the Toulon Tournament would capitalize a wonderful cycle for a country gradually showing improvement in their youth performances.
All things considered though, Mexico has played well, and the guy who did the best against England last year, Diego Lainez, who scored twice against them in the U-17 game, is leading this team again. It will be tough but hopefully Mexico improves and does enough to take the title for a second time.
Date: Saturday, June 9
Time: 9:30am Pacific, 11:30am Central, 12:30pm Eastern
Venue: Stade Francis Turcan, Martigues, France
TV: beIN SPORTS (US - English), BeIn SPORTS en Español (US - Spanish)